UK sends second warship to Gulf in pre-planned deployment, 'not seeking to increase tension'
Britain is bringing forward a pre-planned rotation of warships in the Gulf and the two vessels will temporarily be deployed together near Iranian waters, officials said on Friday.
The HMS Duncan "is deploying to the region to ensure we maintain a continuous maritime security presence while HMS Montrose comes off task for pre-planned maintenance and crew change over," a UK government spokesman said, with a source adding that the rotation had been moved forward by a number of days as tensions in the region mount.
Relations between Iran and the West have been increasingly strained after Britain seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar and London said the British Heritage, operated by oil company BP, had been approached by Iranian vessels in the strait between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.
Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said on Friday that Britain is not seeking to escalate the situation with Iran, “We are reacting to what is happening in a measured and careful way and we are being clear to Iran that we are not seeking to escalate this situation,” Jeremy Hunt told reporters.
Britain's government said Thursday three Iranian boats had attempted to "impede the passage" of a British oil tanker in Gulf waters, forcing UK warship HMS Montrose to intervene. Bahrain rejected the claim in a statement published by the Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
(With inputs from Reuters, AFP.)
(Cover: British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan (D37) sails in the Bosphorus, on its way to the Black Sea, in Istanbul, Turkey, July 2, 2019. /Reuters Photo)